Effect of Fabrics on the Absorption of UV Light
Grace Okamura
Stratford Hall
Floor Location : J 172 H

With current estimations stating that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, consistent exposure to ultraviolet light causes very high mortality rates around the world (American Academy of Dermatology). One way that people can protect themselves from these risks is by wearing clothing materials that would absorb the most UV light. The purpose of this experiment was to study which clothing material would absorb the most UV light and best prevent severe skin cell damage. The three clothing materials tested were cotton, polyester, and Stratford Hall uniform (65% polyester 35% cotton) shirts because they are commonly worn outside. It was hypothesized that the polyester shirts would absorb the most UV rays because of its density and thickness. This experiment was conducted by placing the clothing material between either a UV A or UV B sensor and a UV lamp. The sensors were attached to a UV metre that measured the rays in milliwatts per square metre (mw/m^2). A UV lamp was used to replicate sunlight. The data supports my hypothesis, showing that polyester was the most effective in blocking UV A and UV B rays. Therefore, people should wear polyester whenever they are outside in order to provide the most protection against skin cell damage. Further research will be reported at the regional science fair, which tests the effectiveness of different fabrics on absorbing UV A and UV B rays outside.